Independent apprenticeship provider

ESIS helped this fast-growing independent apprenticeship provider, working with them to meet the government’s apprenticeship reforms.

The challenge

An independent apprenticeship provider, which had recently gained Register of Apprenticeship Training Provider status after successfully delivering apprenticeships as a subcontractor, wanted to ensure that they fully met the standards laid down in the government’s apprenticeship reforms – with a specific focus on high-quality teaching, learning and assessment. 

How ESIS responded to the challenge

ESIS undertook the project to review all aspects of apprenticeship provision – and make recommendations on areas which would have the biggest and most sustainable impact on quality and performance.

A strategic assessment was undertaken by an experienced, senior apprenticeship adviser to review the provider’s strategy, policies and procedures through a ‘fresh pair of eyes’. Performance monitoring and management of both staff and apprentices were reviewed; effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements was checked; and advice on existing gaps and weaknesses was articulated in a summary improvements report. The gathered data helped to inform the provider’s strategy, business objectives and quality improvement priorities.

A management information systems and funding optimisation expert, familiar with learner records and funding return software, coached and developed key staff until they were independently able to manage the learner records and the MIS and funding function – resulting in optimised, timely and accurate funding returns and solid financial performance monitoring.

Audit compliance specialists, following the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s critical factors and testing documentation, conducted a comprehensive audit of learner records for error checks. Working with the provider’s staff, capacity and capability were developed until the provider could confidently ensure that all learner records were audit-proof, with sustainable processes put in place to secure future audit success.

The quality of teaching, learning and assessment practices were sampled through a range of shadowing and joint observation activities. These activities helped to raise expectations and standards of both on- and off-the-job learning, training of new skills, knowledge and behaviours. Emphasis was placed on the importance of transitioning current trainers/assessors to their new roles of workplace coaches. Additionally, ESIS provided experts in curriculum design and development to ensure stimulating and engaging learning resources were available – not only for off-the-job workshop sessions but also for related workplace progress reviews.

Outcomes and benefits

ESIS was able to build on the strengths of the apprenticeship provider, helping it adjust its operational and delivery model to adhere to new apprenticeship standards. The provider was given a detailed action plan which outlined areas for improvement, along with clearly identified milestones and timescales. ESIS continued to work with the provider, to implement the action plan – ensuring that significant and sustainable improvements were made to operational working practices.